After a follow-up investigation by the department, the report could result in multiple punishment for the FBI agents involved.
The report said the exam tested agents' knowledge of the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, issued by the FBI in December 2008. Its primary purpose, the report by the department's Inspector General's Office said, "is to standardize policy so that all investigations are conducted legally and consistently."
"To its credit, the FBI implemented training and a rigorous exam on the important requirements of the new DIOG," the report said. "Unfortunately, the actions of some FBI employees undermined those actions. In our limited investigation, we found that a significant number of FBI employees engaged in some form of improper conduct or cheating on the DIOG exam, some in clear violation of FBI directives regarding the exam."
The report said some agents consulted with others while taking the exam "when that was specifically forbidden by the test-taking protocols."
"Others used or distributed answers sheets or study guides that essentially provided the answers to the test," the report said. "A few exploited a programming flaw to reveal the answers to the exam."
The report went on to say several supervisors and a legal adviser were involved in the cheating.
"Almost all of those who cheated falsely certified on Question 51 (the final question of the exam) that they had not consulted with others," the report stated.
Investigators recommended "the FBI take action regarding those who cheated on the DIOG exam, consider other appropriate steps to determine whether other test-takers engaged in similar inappropriate conduct and also conduct a new exam on the revised DIOG."